If you’ve never had a massage, the idea of a stranger touching you and seeing that extra bit of belly fat, the oddly-shaped birthmark, or those knobby knees you’ve always been self-conscious of can prove to be anxiety-inducing. Rest assured, a masseuse couldn’t care less about that extra ten pounds you’ve put on since your vacation, and their sole focus is ensuring your first massage is as enjoyable, and beneficial, as possible.
Self-consciousness and anxiety keeps many people that could benefit from massage from ever walking through the door. If you’re reading this, chances are you aren’t one of them.
Today we’re going to focus on just what you need to do to prepare yourself for that oh-so-magical first massage.
The most important thing you can do before arriving is to relax. Remember, this is an enjoyable experience that is designed to reduce stress and anxiety, not to cause it. Take a deep breath and assure yourself that this process will be a pleasurable one, and try to remain open to suggestions as well as letting your mind rest during the process.
To reduce stress and anxiety, it’s important to do your part in the hours leading up to your massage. Plan accordingly, and try to avoid the frenzied panic that rushing to meet your appointment causes. Remember to drink plenty of water, and to avoid eating within 2-3 hours of your scheduled massage so that your body has plenty of time to digest big meals. If you have a massage scheduled on a lunch break, keep it light, as the massage process itself could prove to be uncomfortable on a full stomach.
Let the masseuse or the receptionist know you are there and whom you have an appointment to see. Try to relax and let your mind enter a restful state while you await your appointment to enter the massage room.
Once you enter the room, the therapist will leave the room or provide you with the privacy needed to undress. Remember, you only have to remove as much clothing as you are comfortable with, and the masseuse will provide you with a towel or sheet to drape over the parts of your body that aren’t being massaged. Modesty is respected at all times.
Before the therapist begins, it’s important to communicate honestly and accurately with the professional providing the massage. Inform them of any allergies to lotions, oils or powders that may be used, as well as providing them information about problem areas that cause you pain, or that you’d like them to avoid. This is also a great time to provide your therapist with information such as whether you’d like to remain quiet (or some prefer to talk), listen to music, or if you have a preferred style of massage you’d like to try.
Give honest feedback during the massage, and inform the therapist of any discomfort immediately. You are also free to comment on things you are enjoying such as specific amounts of pressure, areas that are enjoyable, and the speed of hand movements.
Above all else, relax and breathe normally. Try to relax your entire body and to become weightless while you enjoy your massage.
After the Massage
Spend a few minutes lying on the table while you prepare to leave. Getting up too quickly often leads to lightheadedness, dizziness, and sometimes fainting. Allow your body to relax and to slowly get up and dress.
Upon exiting the massage room, be sure to ask about scheduling more massage sessions. Massage has the greatest benefits with continued use, and the effects are cumulative, meaning that over time your body will begin to feel better, more relaxed, and help to reduce the effects of anxiety or pain with continued sessions.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. Massage should be enjoyable, and we’re sure that after your first experience, you’ll be counting the minutes until your next massage.